Philadelphia to require Boy Scouts to pay for their homophobic policies

I'm always pleased to see official bodies refusing to support this homophobic organization. This is fabulous news.

It's one step closer to a free nation where discriminatory organizations aren't permitted to receive any public support in any community.


Ryan Adams said...

That is really good news. It's so sad that an organization like the Scouts would be so homophobic. I'm sure there are literally millions of gay kids who would or eventually will want to be a part of the Scouts. I've met a lot of gay guys who were Scouts and rose up to the Eagle level... and were rewarded by having to stay in the closet to remain part of that organization. They don't deserve any freebies until they no longer discriminate.

Rich said...

The name of your blog suits you well.


Eric Jay said...

I certainly agree with not using taxpayer resources to support an organization that discriminates... but I feel like this is "complicated" news more than it is "fabulous."

In reality, the rent increase will adversely affect children involved in scouting, and specifically cut into the budget of one of the regional Boy Scout councils that (if I remember correctly) is trying to fight the BSA's discriminatory policy.

Unfortunately, I don't think this will have much effect in changing the anti-gay policy at BSA. It makes me wonder if there's a way for outside groups to identify and support regional councils which, like the Philly group, don't agree with the national policy. Would they ever be able to put enough pressure on BSA's national leadership to effect change?

eeka said...

Well, in 2003, various local councils adopted anti-discrimination policies, but the national office said they weren't allowed to do this. Of course, this doesn't really mean anything, because people still know which councils are the ones that wish to be inclusive.

And yeah, scouting does great things for kids, but unfortunately I think what's going to have to happen is that municipalities will need to do things like this until the Boy Scouts are forced to change their policy in order to not go under. Or that local councils all break off from them, or somesuch.

I realize this could inconvenience boys and their families, but honestly, I don't have a whole lot of empathy for people who've chosen to have their kids join a homophobic organization rather than Camp Fire or Boys and Girls Club or any number of others that don't discriminate. Sure, I know this was a local council that was trying not to discriminate, but they're nonetheless affiliated with a discriminatory organization. Hopefully these sorts of municipal policies will help some families start to see that they belong to a group that's behaving in a way society doesn't accept, and either move on to another organization, or insist that the Boy Scouts move into modern times.

Phil Thibedeaux said...

Eric Jay brings up a good point, but there are lots of organizations that do a lot of civic good, in addition to the civic harm that they cause. Without resorting to extreme examples (the KKK was, among other things, a family-oriented social clubs in a lot of regions), in the mid-20th century, a lot of Southern Churches were heavily involved in philanthropy at the same time they were actively campaigning against mixed-race marriages.

What I'm curious about is: why did Philadelphia decide that the Scouts' discrimination against gays was the straw that broke the camel's back? Don't the Boy Scouts also discriminate against women when it comes to membership and employment opportunities?

My understanding is that, while the Girl Scouts and Boys and Girls Clubs do permit boys to be members, the Boy Scouts does not.

eeka said...

I actually feel that public money shouldn't be given to any organization that doesn't believe in civil rights for all people. However, I don't think that any organization that only serves a certain demographic is necessarily doing this because they oppose other segments. I support some organizations that only serve elders, only serve people who use service animals, only serve people under 12, only serve people with eating disorders, and so forth. But I don't support organizations that discriminate on a basis that goes a level beyond their target group, if that makes any sense. What I mean is that it doesn't really bother me if the Boy Scouts is founded largely to provide male-only space and mentoring to boys, but it does bother me that they exclude transmales. Similarly, it doesn't bother me if religious groups require that someone have a certain level of study/belief in order to participate in religious activities, but it would bother me if they excluded people based on race or sexual orientation (in the same way it bothers me that the Boy Scouts markets itself as being a group for boys, analogous to the Girl Scouts, but they're actually a group for straight God-believing biomales.)

Phil Thibedeaux said...

That gets a little complicated. :)

I don't oppose, in general, the idea of a Jewish group that exists to provide social services only to Jews. But I'd oppose it if they got a special subsidy from the government that all of us support with our taxes.

I think a strong case can be made that providing a space for boys and male-only mentoring for boys can be good for them. But is the city providing comparable subsidies to groups that provide services only to girls? Perhaps a better use of taxpayer funds would be to support a group that provides boys-only space as well as girls-only space?

The discrimination against gay and atheist citizens is troubling, but I still feel the discrimination against females is not insignificant in this case.

eeka said...

I've worked for a couple of Jewish organizations that receive considerable public funding. The organizations didn't have any requirement whatsoever that people be Jewish to receive services, but the group homes and social groups and food kitchens were very Jewish in flavor, so they tended to attract mostly Jews.

Yeah, I'd prefer if there were analogous single-sex groups, if they're going to be using public resources. I don't actually think females are being excluded though; public schools and libraries and whatnot that have Boy Scout troops associated with them inevitably also have Girl Scouts (otherwise I think you could make a Title 9 case, right?). But if a public school has a Boy Scout troop and a Girl Scout troop, both of whom participate in school assemblies and get written up in the school newsletter and all that, aren't they actually discriminating against MALES? Because that would mean that all girls, regardless of religion or sexual orientation or gender identity, have somewhere to belong, but not all boys do.

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